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Paul Blacker has carried around the idea of a hotter-than-Richmond nightclub for more than a decade. Now he's grinding away at the reality of it — building a 9,000-square-foot office/warehouse into a club inspired by his trips to Iceland.

He's calling it Infuzion, and its ice bar stocked with premium vodkas will be so cold, patrons will get parkas to wear during their 40-minute tasting sessions. Other parts of the club will offer lounge, bar and dance space, and there's room for hundreds on the floor.

Its size is a factor: "That's one of the reasons we're excited about it," Blacker says. "Nothing in Richmond will have quite the configuration or the look." Architect Walter Parks is designing the maple-and-stainless interior of the brick two-story at Clay Street and Roseneath Road in Scott's Addition.

Blacker owns the business with his father, Mike, whose broadcasting career boosted his local profile. And though it won't open until fall, Infuzion is already launching its publicity phase, with signs, a Web site, a marketing campaign — and a hunt for the right vodka sponsor and bartending staff.

A former DJ and nightclub manager, Paul Blacker says his target clientele is the 30- to 45-year-old age group, gay and straight young professionals — "because most of them are going to D.C. to get the kind of night life we're going to offer."



Chef Ellie Basch, one of Style Weekly's Top 40 Under 40 honorees last year, heads to Australia next week to compete in the finals of an avocado oil competition. Her recipe for Olivado Citrus Salad is among the top three international entries, judged by a heavyweight panel from the Culinary Institute of America and Bon Appétit. Her 10-day prize trip culminates in the annual seafood festival in Morton Bay.



Fat Larry's replaces Sweetpeas Catering at 1201 W. Main near Virginia Commonwealth University. The small eat-in spot specializes in cheese-steaks, hoagies and sandwiches.



Old City Bar brings back romance, the cost-conscious kind, for Cheap Date Nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Wine bottles are half-price, and entrées include steak and crab. The setting has a clubby, patrician charm made comfortable by David Napier, Ian Kelley and staff. $25 per person for salad, dinner and shared dessert.



Buz Grossberg has waited months for his close-up — and only the Byrd Theatre can show it large enough, apparently.

So the rib-crazed owner of Buz & Ned's Real BBQ has rented the Carytown screen for Thursday night so that fans can see him win "Throwdown! With Bobby Flay" a couple of hours before the program airs on the Food Network.

Barbecue sliders and lemonade will be served, a $3 charity contribution is requested, and doors open at 7 p.m.

And after a slight dust-up over a recent article, it's a safe bet that Richmond magazine columnist Dave McCormack isn't on the guest list. S

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